Monday, February 1, 2010

Looks Like You Are Getting Your Nuclear Power.

It's been argued by several authors/readers on this blog that we should invest more in nuclear power.  I have usually argued we need to invest in renewable energy that will potentially last forever and that we could export to foreign countries bringing in even more wealth to the US.  However, I will admit nuclear energy seems like a nice short term solution.

Therefore, for many of you this should be a reason to celebrate:
The Obama administration moved vigorously on two fronts Friday to promote nuclear power, proposing a tripling of federal loan guarantees for new projects and appointing a high-level commission to study what to do with nuclear waste.
Administration officials confirmed that their 2011 federal budget request next week would raise potential loan guarantees for the projects to more than $54 billion, from $18.5 billion. A new Energy Department panel will examine a vastly expanded list of options for nuclear waste, including a new kind of nuclear reactor that would use some of it.
I will say this: jobs for physicists related to nuclear power sure pay a lot of money.  For example, post-doc positions at Los Alamos start out making ~$70,000 straight out of grad school and senior level "named" post-docs make over $100,000.  The staff's salaries are obviously higher.  

You just can't find that kind money anywhere else in academics. (Most post-doc salaries are almost literally half those numbers.) If nuclear related jobs for physicists goes up, I'm not going to complain.


  1. The cost of living at LANL is pretty good too. Plus it's a gorgeous place to live. The downside is the beaurocracy. Way too many managers vs people actually doing science. So the atmosphere is different from the typic U al college.

    As for nuclear power, while I'm a fan and most people don't realize reactor designs have advanced over the 60s there are problems. The first is the huge subsidies they require. Give that level of govermental help I seriously wonder if large scale solar isn't a better investment. Especially when one considers the inevitable lawsuits against nuclear.

  2. Clark,

    You're right, LANL is a very beautiful place, high up in the mountains. (Which is why its codename during the manhattan project is "The Hill"). But sadly it is very bureaucratic.

    You also have a point about how much government intervention it takes to run nuclear operations.


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